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Transient small-bowel intussusception in children on CT.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency and significance of small-bowel intussusception identified in children on CT.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: All abdomen CT reports between July 1995 and April 2002 were reviewed to identify patients with small-bowel intussusception. Intussusceptions were identified as an intraluminal mass with a characteristic layered appearance and/or continuity with adjacent mesenteric fat. Ileocolic intussusceptions and intussusceptions related to feeding tubes were excluded. Imaging studies and medical records were reviewed.

RESULTS: Twenty-five pediatric patients (16 boys, 9 girls; mean age 11.2 years) were identified with small-bowel intussusception on CT. No patient had a persistent intussusception requiring surgery. Fourteen had limited immediate repeat CT images as part of the same examination, ten of which demonstrated resolution of the CT abnormality. Follow-up CT [ n=13 (6 within 24 h)], ultrasound ( n=3), small-bowel follow-through ( n=4) and surgery ( n=3) showed no intussusception. In four patients with persistent symptoms, underlying pathology was identified requiring treatment (giardiasis, 2; small-bowel inflammation/strictures, 1; abscess and partial small-bowel obstruction after perforated appendicitis, 1). In 21 other patients, direct correlation of symptoms to CT abnormality was absent or questionable, no treatment was required, and there was no clinical or imaging evidence of persistence or recurrence.

CONCLUSION: Most small-bowel intussusceptions identified in children by CT are transient and of no clinical significance.

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